Irreducible and Stubborn Facts
The Editor’s Notes
by Ken Holder
Attribute to L. Neil Smith’s The Libertarian Enterprise
The things you find while reading books:
When [William James] was finishing his great
treatise on the Principles of Psychology, he wrote to his
brother Henry James, ‘I have to forge every sentence in the
teeth of irreducible and stubborn facts.’
This new tinge to modern minds is a vehement and passionate interest in the relation of general principles to irreducible and stubborn facts. All the world over and at all times there have been practical men, absorbed in ‘irreducible and stubborn facts’, all the world over and at all times there have been men of philosophic temperament who have been absorbed in the weaving of general principles. It is this union of passionate interest in the detailed facts with equal devotion to abstract generalisation which forms the novelty in our present society. Previously it had appeared sporadically and as if by chance. This balance of mind has now become part of the tradition which infects cultivated thought. It is the salt which keeps life sweet. The main business of universities is to transmit this tradition as a widespread inheritance from generation to generation.
—Alfred North Whitehead, Science and the Modern World, Chapter 1, pp. 2-3.
So, do you think perhaps many universities have neglected this “main business”?
I recommend that book for anyone interested in History, The History of Ideas, The History of Science, and/or The History of Philosophy. Or if you just like to think about things. That is why you come to this web site, right? Right!
Here is some information that may be useful:
Five Digital Services that are Freeing the
World, and Why
by Jeffrey A. Tucker
Politicians fight over which version of the past they want to bring back through force of power. Meanwhile, entrepreneurs are building a future for everyone who wants to participate.
Here are some of the most exciting developments in digital properties that are changing the way we work and live, and making the world a freer place -- all without divisive public debates and legislation.
We had an exhausing week at my house, 4 medical appointments in 3 days. We are getting too old for this stuff! Which is probably why we had 4 medical appointments in 3 days! Not counting a vet appointment for our aging dawg. She is doing better, thank you, but 14 dog years is 98 people years or something. Dang! The poor thing is older than I am!
Was that worth reading?
Then why not:
Recommended links from previous issues:
John Tamny on Bastiat Is Common Sense Personified
A writer at Wall Street Pit on New Class of Drugs Will Help You Roll Back the Years
John Lanchester on The Case Against Civilization
John W. Whitehead on Battlefield America Is the New Normal: We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore
Scott Adams on How To Know You’re In a Mass Hysteria Bubble
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